PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police have yet to attract women to join the force as officials say that due to cultural taboos the number of policewomen is still less than one per cent in the province.

“There are 641 policewomen in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a big bulk of it is low-ranking constables,” said DIG Dr Masood Salim while speaking at launch of a two-day training workshop on role of policewomen. The workshop organised with the support of UNDP at police lines here on Tuesday.

The DIG said that out of 641 policewomen seven were DSPs, two inspectors, two sub-inspectors, six assistant sub-inspectors and 24 head constables. Around 600 women were constables in the police department in the province, he added.

Additional IGP Mian Mohammad Asif said that role of women police was very important in eliminating crimes against women but unfortunately women hesitated to joining police force. He said that the department was trying to encourage women to join the force.


DIG says there are only 641 women in police department in the province


Cultural taboos are still a hurdle for women to join the police department, which is not only offering training but also good financial incentives. Recently 35 women were trained and inducted in Elite Force while 17 others were inspired to join the second batch.

“We had been so much suppressed that it would take time to gain confidence,” said a policewoman, who participated in the group discussion held later to come out with solutions to encourage women to join police.

All the policewomen, however, agreed that instead of segregation women should be mainstreamed in the department and assigned duties like their male colleagues so that they could gain experience and get promoted like others.

Women in police department should not be just tasked with responsibilities during raids, VIP duties or at women desks but they should be treated as any other policeman so that they could be visible and earn respect and trust within the department and in the community as well, said the police women during the discussion session.

Mainstreaming of women in the police department would help them to gain confidence, said DSP Asmat.

Her colleagues also suggested that more women should be recruited in police force by publicising good role models. Long duty hours, desk jobs, discrimination in assigning duties had so far set women police aside from the mainstream. Communities also did not show any respect for policewomen that’s why they lacked confidence, they said.

Dr Mohammad Ibrar, a teacher at social work department of University of Peshawar, while lecturing on ‘Women police in KP -- issues and challenges’ said that since 1994 there were 17 women police stations but the strength of policewomen was only 37,000 out of 400,000 police force of the country.

It showed that only 0.86 per cent of police were women, he said. He added that more women should be hired under the 10 per cent quota as well as through open merit.

Dr Ibrar said that more women in police could ensure implementation of women protection laws too. Women complainants could be also facilitated better by the women police, he added.

Umme Kulsoom, representing UNDP, was also of the view that more women should be encouraged to join police force by mainstreaming women in the department. Families still objected to girls joining police but sessions with the community could remove the communication gap, she said. Women face gender-violence and policewomen could really help such women in addressing the issue, she added. She appreciated 66 women desks at police stations across the province.

The policewomen and men as well representatives of civil society later took part in group discussions to suggest ways to improve work environment, confidence building through training and suggested measures to enhance performance of policewomen.

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2015

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